Are Consultants doing good Job :(

I would like to share with you some of the few interesting things related to HR activities in customer care division with respect to call center executives. Recently when I was doing my summer internship at leading telecom service provider, IDEA cellular.

This is an incident which I would like to share with you regarding the impact of hiring the call center executives from a third party i.e., Consultants

The moment we talk about the call centres we think about our favorite word “ATTRITION?. Though it’s true, but in such a large organisation with various departments, the HR manager cannot keep hiring the call center executives everyday/weekly.

:shock: One day when I was doing my research in the call centre I noticed that a customer care executive was worrying and trying to know something .I approached him and asked “did you miss something?, without replying me he asked me what’s our Vice President name and General manager of Customer services. He inquired his colleagues but he didn’t find the answer, I understood the situation quickly and decided to know how many are like this and finally he approached his Team leader and answered the customer after putting him on hold for more than 2 minutes.

:?: When I enquired them “You are working for Idea Cellular for more than 2 months and you don’t know about your bosses?. I was shocked to listen to reply that “We are not working for this company we are working for ‘xyz’ consultant and our boss name is Mr. Jain.. and we don’t need to know anybody about these company and it’s managers.

Strictly speaking all the HR roles( can be outsourced, and many companies are working towards it, and in very near future we can find all the HR functions to be outsourced but luckily if any company wants to do, certainly they have to choose India to get benefit from them.

What I would like to conclude is that all the employees whoever are joined in the company in any way directly on rolls or via consultant they must be given Induction Program, because the customers can feel about the company’s services only just by your service provider (executive).

Now the question is

The new consultants can take up this opportunity and provide more services to the corporate by providing more training and giving induction programs about the companies.

Please do not hesitate to contact me for any further information or any clarification…

:arrow: Bikumandla Srikanth Gupta



9848482624


From India, Hyderabad
Hi Srikanth,

I absolutely agree with you that consultant who provided the agents ought to have run an intensive induction training program so that the new recruits know atleast the basics of the hiring company. The call center executive represents the company and it really doesnt matter to the customer whether the latter was hired directly by the company or by a consultant. What matters is whether the problem was solved effectively, whether the customer felt cared for by the company and whether her feelings were assuaged at the end of the call (if its a complaint call). And if the person handling the telephone does not even know the name of the general manager etc - it is definitely a big lapse.

But consider this - dont you think it is the responsibility of the hiring company - to make sure that the agents it is putting across tto the customers as its representatives are upto mark in all respects? After all it is the customer execs who are the touch points, the brand ambassadors and the value creators for the company. If the hiring company put the agents provided by the consultant on board at such a crucial position (of customer care representative) without bothering to check their quality (knowledge skills attitude - in this case I think all three were missing in the agent in question!) - then it shows up pretty badly on the company itself. It sounds like the company hardly cares who mans the telephones so long as they receive calls and manage the complaints. How in the world is such an untrained customer agent supposed to create much touted things like "customer delight" "the wow experience" etc etc if he or she has not even been given basic training by the company.

So if you want to hold anyone responsible for this lapse, i feel its the hiring company which should get the brick bats first.

Regards

Maliha

From India, Ghaziabad
Hi maliha
I agree with you too :D and don't you think that the hiring company has to vest a lot of time and others especially to train them weekly, because of heavy attrition and new walkins everyweek,how is it possible in such scenario. :!:

From India, Hyderabad
Well Yes, I can see that it would be difficult to train them intensively if they are being recruited on a weekly basis. However the costs of NOT training them are even higher than of training them at that rate. I think by now everybody knows that it costs far more to get new customers than to retain old ones. We have also as customers been often enough at the receiving end of untrained call centre executives making our lives miserable. How irritating it is to find an uncaring, unresponsive, bored to death agent mis-handling your call especially when you are in a tough situation. Nothing can lose customers faster than poor service. And the telephone executive can make or break a company's brand. Can a hiring company really take the risk of NOT training their agents and relying on the consultant to do their job for them? I think its a big risk. I wouldnt do it if it were my cellular company.
Cheers :lol:
Maliha

From India, Ghaziabad
Thanks maliha where ever i attend seminars in mgmt services.they talk about the ethics and values which are important to an agent.But usually agents are not mgmt guys and they are just graduates and worried about their monthly bread and how do we make them understand the ethics/values and needs of the organisation.Do you think that training will really works out.and if so what sort of training.
From India, Hyderabad
Hi,
If not an intensive training, atleast a brief outline of the company should be made known to the new hires. This can be done by either party and especially if the hiring company has outsourced this activity to some agency, it has all the rights to expect the returns for the money spent. Alternatively, the hiring company should also think of its own induction program rather than investing similar amount on having external agency train the people.
to sup up..the hiring company can either outsource both recruitment and training (induction) or only recruitment. Depending on the level of outsourcing they should expect accuracy and also should be prepared to bridge the gap whereever required because its ultimately their services getting affected. Its always advisable to have back-up plans. In today's customer-oriented scenario where organizations are willing to spend on so many other things..why not training and Induction!

From India, Bangalore
I agree with Jyoti,
Induction training for new hires is a MUST even if its just an outline of the basics of the company. Plus a good manual which will give them all the neccesary info and FAQs. While the hiring company should expect the consultants to send trained agents, they should not take them for granted because they - the hiring company - will be the ones to lose in the end (aprt from the customer of course!!) . So I guess the consultant should be remved from the vendors list if there is evidence of untrained agents being sent to hiring company. But at the same time, hiring company should not take a risk and should send all agents for induction training.
I think thats a balanced approach which will benefit all three partners - the consultant, the hiring company and the customer.
Maliha

From India, Ghaziabad
Yes, I agree with you Maliha and Jyothi. Some good points raised by both of you. If there are several agents like this without any induction program, it could prove huge loss to the organization, since these agents are the brand ambasadors between organization and customers.
Word of Mouth is most powerful, if the agent didn't answer answer properly or puts the customer on hold for few minutes to answer simple questions like this, what kind of impression they will have about the organization???
Ultimately it should be the resposibility of hiring comapny to take of these things.
Thank you
Subhash.RV :D

From India, Hyderabad
Dear Srikanth,

Allow me to add a few points..may it be general but on the lines of your thoughts. The scenario which we talk of is called 'contractual staffing' wherein a candidate is made to work for company A while s/he is paid by company B. B can be anyone, but usually, they are 'HR staffing solution providers'. In India, these guys start from basic recruitment consulting so all of us know them to be consultants.

Contractual staffing is done or is practised because of one or all of the following reasons:

1. The parent company has budget constraints on taking people into their direct payroll so they get them through third parties;

2. All companies have a basic compensation policy which allows all employees to have certain benefits. Thus, getting people NOT on their DIRECT payroll saves them the oppurtunity costs.

3. All HR related activites (expect company and industry specific ones) will be taken care by the third party, making the prent company's job much easier.

Usually when a contractual staffing contract is made between two parties; the 'parent' and the 'foster' (third party); the terms and conditions have a clause which signifies that all company specific and industry specific gaps which maybe required to be filled during the tenure of the candidate in the parent company will be providd by the parent. This is because all parent companies have a specific way of induction, training as this would ensure uniformity and smooth trasition in all employees. Whatever said, the candidate is still a brand ambassedor for theparent company and they have to make sure that all information required is given to 'their' employees (induction, training etc). The 'foster' takes care of all 'back-stage' activities of the candidate i.e. payroll, compensation, benefits, career growth etc. A subtle and firm segreagation of duties between the parent and the foster will ensure a smooth transaction for the candidate and for the two parties.

Unfortunately, in India, this quality aspect in contarctual staffing has not yet set in as the ITeS industry (call centers etc.) is curently going through what we call in economics - a boom. Simply putting, the supply of candidates and talent pool is very high when compared to the demand. Thus, both parties in a contract staffing agreement oversee the future repercussions of the lapse of quality because if one candidate leaves there are tens other waiting to take his place. The parent does not care as he knows that the foster will be in charge of providing a replacement. The foster is not capable of giving the candidate a proper company specific induction. Thus, in between this tussle, the candidate loses his job, the parent looes his brand and customer service value and the foster wastes his time in getting more candidates.

This situaton will change when the bubble breaks and quality sets into the system. Only then will everyhting, what was talked about - training, induction etc. will be quality driven and strategically implemented. The stage is not far, it is just round the corner.

Hope the above information is useful!

Take Care,

-KK

From India, Bangalore
Hi Karthik,
You raised some good points and probable solution.
The parent should come to an agreement with foster, like what should cover in training apart from basics.
The other thing after hiring, good induction programme by the parent will help.
Expecting some more valuable contributions from our group.
Regards
Subhash.RV :)

From India, Hyderabad

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